Rigid general terms and essential predicates

Philosophical Studies 140 (2):213 - 228 (2008)
What does it mean for a general term to be rigid? It is argued by some that if we take general terms to designate their extensions, then almost no empirical general term will turn out to be rigid; and if we take them to designate some abstract entity, such as a kind, then it turns out that almost all general terms will be rigid. Various authors who pursue this line of reasoning have attempted to capture Kripke’s intent by defining a rigid general term as one that applies to the objects in its extension essentially. I argue that this account is significantly mistaken for various reasons: it conflates a metaphysical notion (essentialism) with a semantic one (rigidity); it fails to countenance the fact that any term can be introduced into a language by stipulating that it be a rigid designator; it limits the extension of rigid terms so much that terms such as ‘meter’, ‘rectangle’, ‘truth’, etc. do not turn out to be rigid, when they obviously are; and it wrongly concentrates on the predicative use of a general term in applying a certain test offered by Kripke to determine whether a term is rigid.
Keywords Kripke  General term  Rigid designator  Natural kind term  Essential predicate
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,631
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Saul Kripke (2010). Naming and Necessity. In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Philosophy. Routledge 431-433.
Michael Devitt (2005). Rigid Application. Philosophical Studies 125 (2):139--165.
Joseph LaPorte (2000). Rigidity and Kind. Philosophical Studies 97 (3):293-316.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

79 ( #57,720 of 1,938,799 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

13 ( #42,472 of 1,938,799 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.